Monday, March 30, 2015

Sequence and the Slave Trade

In reading, our text structure focus skill has been sequencing, so I blended this with our study of the African Slave Trade. I introduced the lesson by presenting the students with 5 picture cards illustrating events pertaining to the slave trade available HERE on my TPT. I asked them to place these events, starting in West Africa, in the order they thought each happened.
 After that, I gave each pair three, more challenging, pictures to put in their line up. This activity is available HERE on my TPT. 

 We than discussed that what we just did was called "Sequencing" and that when we read text, authors give us clue words to help us see the sequence of events. These we posted on our chart. Then we CLOSE read our texts looking for these key words and close reading to find out the different stages of the Slave Trade. You can find the text I used HERE. Note: I did not use the whole chapter, just sections 8.3, 8.5, and 8.7 to sequence the three major stages. After identifying the stages, we then underlined the key ideas for each stage making sure we get the main idea out along with important key details. We then took notes utilizing the I DO, WE DO, YOU DO** instructional format on our sequence thinking maps about the main idea of each stage. 
**I DO, YOU DO, WE DO method: I model how to take notes and summarize the first stage, they take notes and summarize the second stage with a partner, and finally they take notes and summarize the third stage independently. 
Using our notes, I wrote a summary of the first stage (getting captured and traveling to the coast) as a model, then they wrote a paragraph summary of the second stage (traveling across the Atlantic in the "Middle Passage") with their partner, and finally, they wrote the last paragraph summary of the third stage (being sold to colonial plantation owners) on their own. Students took some time to illustrate each stage as well. 
The kids did a great job of being respectful and thoughtful of this very sensitive subject and their learning showed through on their summaries. How do you teach this subject? Do you have any unique ways of helping students understand the Slave Trade, I would love to hear them! 

Akwaaba se West Africa!

(Twi Language) 
Welcome to WEST AFRICA! 
Recently, we traveled back to the continent of Africa to experience what life was like in 15th century West Africa. Like many of the Native American Tribes, Africa was a mixture of many different cultures and civilizations, some massive and incredibly powerful (like the Inca and Aztec) and many smaller villages and tribes. 

To discover this, we close read our text looking for the text feature of description. 
After identifying what life was like, we took notes inside our African outline and then participated in some traditional crafts that celebrate West African culture. We also listened to traditional music and played some fun games including Mancala and Queah. 
West African Necklaces 

Do any of you do anything unique to help students understand life in 15th century West Africa? 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Columbian Exchange

After our unit on Early Explorers, I introduce the Columbian Exchange with a short film addressing the different causes and effects of it. We discuss which thinking map we would utilize for taking notes on Cause and Effect and then I set a purpose for them and have them take notes of causes and effects during the film.                                                                              We also identified KEY words for cause and effect that can help us identify them in texts. Using two different crayons, we underlined the causes and the effects of the Columbian Exchange in a short non-fiction passage.  
LOOK at the text FOCUS going on here! *Teacher Heart Happy*
We then read the text features closely, with the purpose of identifying which products were traded where, either on purpose or accidently. Students worked with a partner to create a T-chart of old and new world products. 
Using our notes, we map these products and their routes on large world maps. 

Working with their partner, each student writes a short paragraph about either the effects the exchange had on the old or new world and add them to their maps. 
Later during the week, we act out my Columbian Exchange simulation which you can check out HERE. 
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